The Over Complication
“Who we killing?” Outlier pulled their knife to their face. They couldn’t contain their laughter as they attempted to lick it.
“Merlyn.” The word alone was enough to silence the clones but Lore’s cadence drove the point home. “He was supposed to die ages before he did. Magic was never supposed to reach the stars like this.” Lore looked at the lush hills around them. “We have to nudge history back onto its track to save this universe.” Pwy’he sat in the centre of his slime drawing and began to stare into space.
“And Merlyn has to die?” Aloe’s normally commanding tone waivered slightly. Pwy’he nodded then returned to his near catatonic state.
Lore paused for a moment. “I suppose not. Someone else is going to try assassinating him. We could try to convince everyone it was a success.”
“No.” Pwy’he raised his voice. “He has to die. If he doesn’t, nothing will change. If we save him, he stops the non-magical take over before it can happen. If we remove him from that point in time, he re-establishes a foothold and eventually… Magic comes back on top. I’ve seen countless outcomes, he has to die.” His eyes drooped slightly as he buried himself in Lore’s side.
Taking his hint, Lore decided to move their discussion back into Varkral’s house. As they moved towards the door, Pwy’he joined them but not consciously. Lacking Lore’s presence for support, he began to fall. Minutes stretched to hours as Lore watched their son’s body falling. In a movement imperceptible to all others, they scooped him into their arms and continued their journey into the house.
“Varkral? Varkral? We need some help!” Char shouted ahead to Varkral, holding her hand to Pwy’he’s clammy forehead. It wasn’t long till their calls were answered and Varkral reappeared from his front doorway. They bundled Pwy’he up and hurried him inside.
“What happened?” Lore gently set him down on one of the softer chairs in Varkral’s front room. “Is he hot or cold?” Varkral asked.
“Neither, just sort of sweaty.” Lore’s now empty hands had no idea what to do so flapped at their side.
“It’s alright darling, he’ll be fine.” Char delicately put her arm around Lore. “He’ll be alright.” She repeated.
“He will be fine. Just a little over exertion. Happens to the best of us. I’ll make some tea.” And with that, Varkral vanished.
“Over exertion? He’s barely done anything today.” Lore raised an eyebrow.
“He doesn’t normally use his powers though.” Char brought her partner closer.
“No… He doesn’t…” Their voice was ginger as Lore thought back to the last time they had trained together. “He hasn’t eaten today.” They managed to click with the right fingers.
“That must be it.” Char could still feel Lore quivering in her arms. “He’ll be ok.” She kissed their forehead.
Hours passed and after a steaming hot cup of Varkral’s tea, Pwy’he was on the mend. Lore remained by his side for as long as they could but the rest of the party were growing restless. They ruffled his hair as they quietly crept away and into the next room.
“How is he?” Char broke her neck trying to get a glimpse from her chair.
“He’s getting better. The sweating’s stopped.” Lore joined them at the kitchen table. “On to business then.” They sat down, choosing a seat that had as perfect vantage point as they could get. “In this universe, Merlyn unified the world early meaning, for a time, he was the only world leader. This is where things get a little weirder.” Lore removed their Breacher and displayed a hologram. As the wireframe built, it revealed London. Big ben in the background and the waterfront lined with miniature people. Driving along the road, a precession worthy of a president. “Merlyn maintained his English roots but seems to have adopted a more American approach to his public appearances. In fact, in his life time, if our presidents of America allegedly did it, so did Merlyn.”
“He got away with everything. But that’s beside the point.” Lore tapped their Breacher bringing the hologram to life. “Merlyn’s motorcade was supposed to be shot at by an unknown gunman somewhere in this grassy area. We have to make sure they take the shot.”
“Do we know who they are?” Aloe looked to them confused.
“Not a clue. But we know who’s going to stop them so we should be able to use that to find out.” The image flickered to reveal The Collector’s face. “This is Chet. He’s the one we’re really after. Stop him and we should stop the stopping of the assassination.” Lore chuckled at themselves. No one else joined in. “Fine… We stop Chet and everything should go back to how it was before him.”
“What about me, all of us?” Varkral looked to the clones.
“We can set up a safe zone around your house. It won’t be effected by the changes but I think you should consider helping us out.”
“Helping?” Varkral raised his mug to his lips.
“When Reality showed me the multiverse, something else decided I needed to see more. Whatever it was dragged me across reality to fill my head with feelings of impending doom and a vision of a second multiverse. Whether it’s real or not, I want to be ready.” What little colour existed in Lore’s skin had drained. “We could use your help.”
“Was this your plan all along? Destroy my home and force me into a nomadic existence travelling the multiverse?” Varkral was staring into their soul. The silence lingered for just a moment too long. “I’m in.” He smiled. “Be nice to finally be rid of these replicated buffoons… Apart from you Aloe. You’ve been most useful.” Lore gritted their teeth.
“Actually, you’d be travelling with them. With our limited knowledge of the multiverse, it’s safer to travel in teams.”
“Fine but one thing at a time. Let’s go get one of the greatest heroes in history killed.”
“Glad you’re on board but you’ve jumped the gun.” Lore pointed to Pwy’he. “Can’t leave without our heavy hitter.” The group panned over to the slumbering and slobbering figure on Varkral’s sofa. “The most powerful member of our family.”
“I miss when the strangest thing I’d ever seen was you running around London barefooted.” Char turned to Pwy’he. “He does look peaceful though.” Lore nodded.
“We leave when he’s up. We’ve got a timeline to burn.” Lore scowled. Char shook her head. A Legend Lives.